School Counseling and the Family Structure
The American family has changed over the last 50 years from “traditional” to what is called “nontraditional” today. Society has changed the way families are viewed and what the definition of family means to them as a whole. School counselors take ethical considerations when working with nontraditional families such as gay, lesbian, divorced, remarried, multiracial, military and single family homes. Working to help empower the family structure through school counseling, regardless of how society views them, is not only an obligation but the goal and role of the school counselor.
Explain how the family structure has changed over the last 50 years.
The traditional American family was formally viewed as a heterosexual couple, husband, wife in their first marriage, with 2.5 children. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently-released American Community Survey (ACS) and Decennial Census data in 1960, 73% of children under the of 18 years fit into the “traditional” family role, the rate dropped in 1980 to 61% and in more recent years the rate has fallen even less to 46% (Livingston, 2014). Today traditional is less mentioned when defining the family. Families, have become more socially egalitarian over all, meaning there are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse families today than half a generation ago (Angier, 2013). Unlike in the past, a single person proudly says they are a family of one, not concerned about how society views them.
Over the past decade, nearly half of Western European marriages resulted in divorce, causing an increase of single parent homes. Between the years of 1980 and 1990, over 41% of children in America, faced the divorce o...
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...e into consideration others ethical and multicultural differences. School counselors should respect clients’ rights, under B.1.a, Multicultural/Diversity Considerations of the ACA (2005) standards. When a school counselor is unsure of their position in a situation, they should refer to the ACA Code of Ethics C.2.e. Consultation on Ethical Obligations and consult with other counselors.
The structure of American families has changed over the last 50 years from heterosexual, first marriage families to families that are of one, gay, divorced and single parent homes. Children are being raised in a society where tradition is not what it used to be, but more socially accepting to nontradional ways of life. No matter how a person defines family, all people should be treated with the same respect and giving the tools they need to be supported and empowered.
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